People often buy tattoo machines off the internet and practice in the home on themselves or others – something that was struck down as illegal in the State of Michigan earlier this year.
The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health told the British Broadcasting Corporation that the sales should be banned due to a lack of education on the parts of those buying the machines.
While a professionally tattooed, well cared for piece of skin art can be beautiful, the end results of a in-home tattoo, or something from a ‘tattoo party’, can be sloppy, slow to heal and, in a worst case scenario, infectious. Not to mention that – at least in Michigan – it’s against the law.
Some of our friends in Auld Scotland, such as Graham Robertson of the Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland, have heard multiple reports of legit tattoo artists needing to “repair” work done by untrained hands.
“We have a problem with how unlicensed tattooists source such kits. The more available those things are, the more common it is becoming,” he told the Scotland Herald. “We get reports when people have come in and told the licensed tattooists they have had a botched job. People don’t seem to realise the risk.”
He said that while infections aren’t reported regularly, they are still a big concern for the health industry.
“We have had two reports of infections attributable to tattooing or piercing in four years – luckily. It is more due to good fortune that it is relatively low,” he said.
Unsanitary conditions, such as those often found where people who don’t know tattooing procedures try to practice, can lead to all sorts of infections, and the transmission of blood borne pathogens can be higher.
Something that translates between Scotland, the USA and the entire world is the cleanliness of the tattoo environment. In the State of Michigan, tattoo shops must be approved by the Department of Community Health in order to achieve a legal status.
In an interview with the Herald, George Greenhill of Tribe studios in Edinburgh, Scotland, suggested: “People should only use a licensed operator.
“People should also check the cleanliness of a studio.”